How to Become a Plumber in Canada

Plumbers like working with their hands and fixing problems. Follow these steps to become a plumber in Canada.

Step 1 – Complete your Secondary Education

Every province requires that you complete high school, or the Canadian GED.  Mathematics is highly recommended, as you will really need it, to calculate required material, diameters, length etc.  Some employers may demand that you complete postsecondary training although not usually.


Step 2 – Apprenticeship

After high school, you need to find an employer that will take you on as an apprentice. You can directly approach a local company you are interested in, and apply, or make your application through a union. To increase your chances of landing an apprenticeship, we recommend you apply to multiple plumbing companies. You will be admitted as an apprentice after signing an apprenticeship contract.

Once you have found a company that will have to take you on, you must complete about four years of classroom and on-the-job training. About 80% of the apprenticeship program will be on plumbing-related practical skills, which will be done under the supervision of a qualified Red Seal plumber.

Red Seal Plumber Salary

Average hourly wage is $33.88.   9% above the national average.

Step 3 – Get your Plumbing Certification

After completing your apprenticeship, you will need to pass the Red Seal Plumber examination with over 70%. The Plumber certification exam tests your knowledge of building codes and different plumbing systems. This certification is not mandatory, but is very important as some employers only hire certified Red Seal plumbers.

The Red Seal Plumbing Exam

The Red Seal Plumbing Exam given by the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship. Earning the Red Seal certification in plumbing means you can work in any province or territory in Canada.

The plumber Red Seal exam is based on the Red Seal Occupational Standard for Plumbing. This standard defines the knowledge and skills necessary to perform plumbing duties. The Plumber Red Seal exam has 125 questions divided into major work activities and tasks as follows:

Occupational Outlook

Jobs for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is expected to grow at 5% 2020 to 2030.

This translates to about 51,000 openings for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters every year, on average.

Major Work Activity A

Activity A has 15 questions on common occupational skills in five activities.  Red Seal Plumber Practice Activity A

A-1:  Three questions on safety-related functions

A-2:  Four questions on tools and equipment maintenance.

A-3: Three questions on work organization.

A-4: Four questions on routine trade activities

A-5: One question on communication and mentoring techniques.

Major Work Activity B 

Activity B tests has two tasks, and fifteen questions testing your knowledge of the preparation and assembly of pipes.  Red Seal Plumber practice Activity B

B-6: Six questions on preparing pipes.

B-7: Nine questions on tubing, pipe, and joins.

Major Work Activity C 

Activity C has three tasks, and thirty questions testing your knowledge of sewage treatment, installs, waste and vent systems.

C-8: Six questions on tests, installs, and services sewers.

C-9: Four questions on installs, tests, and services sewage treatment systems.

C-10: Twenty questions on installs, tests, and waste and vent systems.

Major Work Activity D

Activity D has twenty-one questions on installs, water service and distribution.

D-11: Five questions on installs, tests, and water services.

D-12: Eleven questions on installs and potable water distribution services.

D-13: Five questions on service pressure systems.

Major Work Activity E

Activity E has eighteen questions in two tasks on services fixtures and water treatment systems.

E-14: Thirteen questions on appliances and plumbing services fixtures.

E-15: Five questions related to water treatment.

Major Work Activity F

Activity F has eighteen questions related to hydronic heating and cooling and low-pressure steam systems.

F-16: Two questions on low-pressure systems.

F-17: Six questions on hydronic heating and cooling piping systems.

F-18: Five questions on hydronic heating and cooling generating systems.

F-19: Five questions on controls and transfer units on hydronic systems.

Major Work Activity G

Activity G tests one’s knowledge of tests and fire protection systems.

G-20: Flow-through fire protection systems.

G-21: Services standpipe systems

Major Work Activity H

Activity H has eight questions on specialized plumbing systems.

H-22: Five questions on specialized systems.

H-23: Three questions on process piping systems.

How to prepare for the Plumbers Red Seal Exam

To increase your chances of passing the Red Seal exam, you need adequate preparation. First, we recommend you take care of the administrative tasks. These tasks may include proof of apprenticeship completion, confirming your language options, and requesting any special accommodations you need. Second, you need to familiarize yourself with the contents of the exam. After understanding what the exam contains, prepare a personal study plan on the subjects that will be tested. Ensure that you study for the exam at least three weeks before your scheduled date to avoid the last-minute rush.

How to Prepare for a Test – The Complete Guide

How to Study – The Complete Guide

The Red Seal Plumber is a registered trademark.  Complete Test Preparation Inc. is not affiliated with any Red Seal organization, who are not involved in the production of, and do not endorse this information. Complete Test Preparation Inc. is an un-official provider of test preparation material and are not affiliated with any red seal organization.

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Date Published: Wednesday, May 18th, 2022
Date Modified: Monday, July 4th, 2022